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The basic fundamental reasoning behind why anthropologist do what they do has not changed over the course of history. When we examine The Sparrow and Yanomamo we can see two separate cases in where anthropologist and Jesuits describe their first contact on field work. The same goal in mind, to discover what the culture is about and why they do what they do. Emilio Sandoz from The Sparrow is a Jesuit linguist who goes on an exploration mission to a distant plant that deems to be identical to earth. Napoleon A. Chagnon from Yanomamo explains his time living among these hunters and gathers, primarily speaking of their violence and what causes it. Although, both of which take place in time periods that are very distant from each other, as well as one being non-fiction case study and the other being a fictional story, they both illustrate two distinctively different ways of how anthropology is viewed.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell is a fictional story taken place in the years of 2060, occasionally going as low as the year 2014. The story is based around a space exploration of a world similar to that of earth, Rakhat. In which the sole survivor of the exploration team was Emilo Sandoz, a Jesuit priest who was the linguist of the team. He returned very much injured and mentally unstable. Just like any field study case conducted by “Anthropologist”, they want to establish first contact with an informant to get a sense and understanding of the society they are entering. In this case Emilio and the group of members with him encounter a tribe of “Hunters and Gatherers”, the Runa. Askama was the name of the child assigned to Emilo, so she could teach him the language of the Runa and he can teach them the language of English. Their intentions were to be familiarized with the inhabitants of the planet and to pin point the source of music that first led them to this planet. In many of times through the duration of stay, even though witnessing and loosing member of the original voyage, it is described how pleasing and how wonderful it was on the planet itself. Unlike many readings of Anthropologists studies in the field, which are usually always horrific and discomforting. On Rakhat, the group seemed not to mind knowing they wouldn’t be going home. If anything they wanted to stay. Unfortunately, aspects on unintended events occurred during their stay. To start, deaths within the group started early, with Alan Pace to be the first to die after a few weeks on the planet. One by one members died, with traditions and rules being broken between the Runa and Jana’ata. As any anthropologist wants, it is to be trusted and to be a part of the native tribe(s). So when Supaari VaGayjur, a third son to a family and a successful trader, invite Emilio and Marc to live with him, Emilo must make the decision to allow Supaari to scalp Emilio’s and Marcs hands. This which seemed to be an act of barbaric traits when Emilio had returned to earth. Is but an actual act of good gesture, and that Emilio should be honored. This was a moment of importance and accomplishment, that now Emilio is being in a way accepted. Tragically, Marc does die of blood loss, and Emilio does lose all purpose for his hands. His hands look like a greatly admired leaf to the Jana’ata. It is in upcoming events that’s occur when we start to see that hatred and uncomforted that occurs with field work. He begins to despise and hate what has happened, the turn of events from enjoyment to torture occurred in a span of around 3 years.
Compared that to the occurrences in that of Yanomamo by Napoleon A. Chagnon, Chagnon had a totally different experience in all. Straight from first contact its known that Chagnon hates and dreads his time with Yanomamo. He would have left the first chance he got, undouble he didn’t want to be there. His intensions and mind set was to understand why the Yanomamo are so violent. That was his set goal to accomplish. He came to a definite conclusion that it was due to the women, the want and need for women. Chagnon in a way didn’t give much respect to the Yanomamo, even though he made them out so violently he portrayed them as incompetent. The images that were in the reading also portrayed them as more of wild animal type society. Ultimately his impression of them being violent is all that he described. Unlike, The Sparrow, Chagnon was being very much bias, we saw the same traits that Chagnon had were the same that was described in the Yanomamo. Emilio on the other hand had a much more genuine telling of his experience from good to bad. Emilio being a Jesuit and not really an anthropologist does in ways effect their views in their explorations. Chagnon had a more significant one view on things during his exploration, while Emilio was more open and broad though when it came to his exploration. Like we soon came to realize in Yanomamo, Chignon’s own personality and attributes were portrayed in the Yanomamo themselves.
Both Russel and Chagnon share some similarity though, both their writings have a sense of fictional. Yes, Chagnon wrote about his own experiences, and no one can truly verify what really happen on his field study other than himself. We must take his own word for what it is, that’s where we started to see his character embodied on to the Yanomamo. Then we have Russel who’s novel is completely fictional, and since it is fictional we see a true view of the other, in which nothing is kept from us. Chagnons style of anthropology in the past and Russel’s description of future anthropology are in ways different, but their sole purpose never changed, they both went in with a set goal, achieved it, and took something away from the place they were.
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